Ferrets are domestic animals related to the
family of weasels, skunks, and minks. Ferret
owners describe their pets as being between
dogs and cats in treatment and they have become a popular pet.
They resemble a "fur covered slinky".
Why Do Ferrets Make Good Pets?
Ferrets are little clowns. They are very playful,
will come when called, travel well, don't
bark or meow, cage easily, and can be litter
box trained. They are very inquisitive little critters,
which can sometimes get them into trouble.
What's The Catch?
Like other animals, they require a lot of care
and training. They are "higher maintenance"
than cats. They love to get into everything
and can hurt themselves and your possessions.
They love to burrow, chew, and dig, so it is
very important to ferret-proof your home.
Most ferrets get along reasonably well with
cats and dogs, though you need to watch
closely. Likewise, small children and ferrets,
both of which are very excitable, can sometimes
be a dangerous combination.
Where To Get A Ferret?
Many pet stores sell ferrets. There is no consistent
personality difference between a neutered
male and a female. The males are generally
larger. Adults may be a bit calmer but
may have already acquired bad habits. Kits are
very cute but require a little more care and
What To Look For?
It is best to purchase a ferret which has already
been fixed and descented. Breeding is
best left to experts. Females which are not
fixed can develop a fatal bleeding problem if
they go into heat and are not bred.
What Should I Feed My Ferret?
Ferrets are strict carnivores. The key ingredient
in the diet is animal protein. Look for
chicken or poultry. The food should have at
least 32% protein and animal protein
be listed first in the ingredients.
Because of the high protein requirement,
ferrets up to three or four years should be fed
kitten food or a "growth" food. After that,
switch to a regular cat version.
Ferrets are very prone to dental disease, so
dry food is best. Unless your pet is overweight,
you can keep the bowl full and let him nibble
at his leisure.
What Vaccinations Will My Ferret Need?
- Canine Distemper
This is a 100% fatal disease in ferrets.
Kits require three shots - i. e. 6-8 weeks
of age, 10-12 weeks of age, and 14-16
weeks of age. A yearly booster is then
Ferrets are required by law to have a yearly
rabies vaccination. Kits can receive this
vaccine at three months of age.
What Types of Checkups Should My Ferret Have?
Ferrets have a shorter life-span than dogs
and cats (average is 5-8 years of age). They
should be given a yearly examination until age
4 and then twice yearly examinations are recommended
because of the high incidence of
metabolic disease and cancer in older animals.
What Will I Need To Care For My Ferret?
- Litter Box - Usually at least two small ones.
- Cage - Many people keep their ferrets
in a cage whenever they can't be
supervised. It is also a help in litter-training. Wire
mesh cages work well. Have a small box
or basket in the cage for his bed. Other
than food, water, a litter pan and a bedding area,
what you put in the cage is up to you. Just be sure anything you put in
can't hurt him.
- Fresh Food and Water
- Love - Ferrets enjoy playing and cuddling
so be sure you have plenty of time for